It’s the same feeling I get each year on April 15th.
And no it’s not the joy of spring.
I feel poor, I feel stressed, I feel like a debtor. Which is what I am.
Student loans. Mortgage payments. The ten bucks Alexa spotted me when I needed to pay something in cash. I am a debtor. This becomes especially evident when the IRS and I have our annual anniversary.
In my dreams, I would love for the Internal Revenue Service to observe the “year of Jubilee.”
In Tony Campolo’s book, The Kingdom of GOD is a Party, he describes, “All debts were to be canceled in the year of Jubilee. All land was to be returned to its original owners, and those who were in prison were to be set free. In those days, prison was primarily for debtors…” (p.18).
But as I startle from this day dream (just in time to put my properly postmarked envelopes into the mailbox), I don’t forsee the IRS picking up this Biblical requirement stated in Leviticus 25.
Could you imagine? What joy would erupt in the streets! Granted some CPAs would be weeping, but overall I think Jubilee would go over pretty well. However, such pardon is not the case with the IRS.
In fact, even the Jews never observed the year of Jubilee — Except for one Rabbi.
Jesus read for the hometown crowd a passage from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” [61:1-2].
Campolo comments, “According to Isaiah 61, we are told when the Messiah comes, He will bring in the new economic order in which the poor will be delivered from all oppression and freed to live life to the fullest” (p.19).
As Jesus took a seat, he declared Jubilee, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).
As the clock tells me that there are only 5 minutes left of April 15, I say “Preach on Jesus! Preach on!“
encounter: After reading Luke 4:14-44, reflect on the following questions with others or on your own (of course you’re always welcome to post your reflections here):
- As for money or favors, which of your debts would you want to be paid off completely today if it were possible? What would be your reaction?
- The familiar chorus goes, “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt, I could not pay…” As for your sins and salvation, what do you wish the Messiah of Jubilee would pay off on your behalf?
- Describe what being “freed to live life to the fullest” means to you.